News

If you want to share a piece of news to all WFS members and web surfers (publication of a compact disk, a book, event, concert, etc.) do not hesitate to let us know by email at site@furtwangler.fr
30 March 2020

A promise is a promise.

The recording of the concert of the 50th anniversary of the SWF, on 19 October 2019, is now available to our members. Non-members will have to content themselves with this extract.

 

Quartets by Schubert, Beethoven and Ravel, performed by the Varian Fry Quartet of Berlin, recorded by Frédéric Briant.

There are two ways to access this:

streaming (available for the next two months), by clicking here.

– downloading (SWF D07), from the shop, as for another reference, yet of course at no cost (the price is zero euro). 2 formats: CD quality (wav 16/44) and high definition (flac 24/96)

A facsimile of the programme can also be downloaded along with a tutorial to help you downloading.

Those who attended the concert will be able to relive these intense moments; everyone else will discover a concert that will leave an important mark in our history.

24 March 2020

Our friends of the Wilhelm Furtwängler Centre of Japan have just released a double DVD of 2 concerts of Furtwängler conducting the RAI Orchestra of Rome:
– that of 10 January 1952, with the Pastorale and the 5th Symphony,
– that of the 19th of the same month, with the 4th Concerto played by Pietro Scarpini and the Eroica.

When one says ‘DVD’, one often thinks of images. In this case we have just sound files. On your screen you will see menus, like those of a film. By clicking, you will be able to listen in high definition.

With sound that is very reasonable – yet which cannot compensate for the relative dryness of the Foro Italico concert hall – here are some very interesting performances, dominated by that of the Eroica, in which the orchestra seems more at ease, as if this very ‘modern’ music gave the instrumentalists greater inspiration!

The double DVD is sold on subscription at a price of 35 € – this is the price (+ expenses) determined by the Japanese association.

This subscription is open until 31 May 2020. We shall have the requisite number of DVDs sent over from Japan so that we can then send them on to you.

The order should be placed on our website shop.

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20 March 2020

One of our members, Jean-Luc Tardivat, who is always on the qui vive, noticed this Deutsche Grammophon announcement, copied by the excellent site “Furtwaengler Journal”.

The yellow label is releasing a box-set devoted to the Staatskapelle of Berlin for its 450th anniversary, in other words the Orchestra of the National Opera playing in concert formation. Furtwängler was its conductor before succeeding Nikisch at the BPO.

In order to conjure up Furtwängler’s presence with the Staatskapelle, DG included in its box-set programme the Tristan of October 1947. As is well known, the first act is missing, and our association released a double CD with acts II and III (it can indeed be found on the site mentioned at the head of this article). DG excelled itself by including ONLY act II. Why?

Our double album is still available in our catalogue. Don’t hesitate!

Rehearsal of Tristan in October 1947. On the left: Gottlob Frick (King Marke)

18 March 2020

You have not received the CD you ordered from the SWF? This is—if not normal—at least logical.

Everyone will have understood that during this period of confinement, it has not been possible for us to ensure the delivery of your discs or books.

This is an extra reason for thinking of downloading: the coronavirus is not yet attacking internet traffic…

We are grateful for your understanding and urge you to take care!

13 March 2020

Everyone knows it! Wilhelm Furtwängler began his American career in January 1925, on Saturday 3 to be precise, this being the start of three successive seasons during which, at the head of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra (NYPO), he shared the spotlight with Willem Mengelberg, and then also, from 1926, with Arturo Toscanini.

What we discover from the archives of the New York Philharmonic is that Furtwängler almost appeared at the head of the orchestra as early as January 1924. This anticipated yet missed opportunity emerges from the correspondence preserved in these archives, records that are just as much the reflection of a certain way of doing things at a particular period. Another time…

We have translated these letters. On the other hand, our Anglophone friends, owing to matters of reproduction rights, will have to consult the facsimiles present on the website of the NYPO archives.

Here is this short survey.

9 March 2020

The programme whose facsimile we present today is that for the Berlin Philharmonic concerts of 3-5 April 1938.

Nothing extraordinary: an “all Beethoven” event — except for a few details which you can discover by looking inside.

28 February 2020

Furtwängler’s operatic repertory is sometimes incorrectly understood, notably because we always have in mind what recordings he was able to bequeath to us.

The brief study to be discovered (for members) has but a single ambition: establish the list of the operas conducted by Furtwängler.

23 February 2020

Though Furtwängler and his Berliners appeared, in Paris, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and later at the Opéra Garnier — prestige demanded no less —, the Salle Pleyel, inaugurated in 1927, welcomed them twice, for their first appearance in the French capital in 1928 and above all for the concert that marked one of the German musical contributions to the Exhibition of 1937, on September 7.

Here is a rare witness to this evening. Furtwängler acknowledges the public, with at his left Bruno Kittel, chorus master, and he is then himself hailed by the French President, Albert Lebrun.

17 February 2020

Last July we announced the release of the Furtwängler/DG box-set, which included all the recordings produced by the group over the previous decades, not forgetting the Polydor of pre-war days, Decca, and also the radio recordings (Berlin, Cairo, Vienna, etc.) all released for many years with the yellow label.

This meant therefore the duplication of some recordings of the Berliner Philharmoniker (1939-1945 archives).

We should rejoice in such an accumulation, yet, alas, DG was content merely to make compilations of the earlier various releases, without undertaking the real editorial work of remastering. What appeared to be welcome some thirty of forty years ago is no longer to be regarded as such in view of current practice.

This is a pity: a missed opportunity. There remains the practicality that at least we have everything at an advantageous price.

Let us hope that Warner will be able to draw the logical conclusion if the group is to be gracious enough to offer us a complete collection!

Here is the link to the comprehensive article of Maciej Chizynski on the site Resmusica

5 February 2020

The holder of this ticket attended a concert which remained somewhat overlooked during Furtwängler’s career.

At the end of December 1950, Furtwängler directed a series of three Beethoven Ninths in Berlin, which have faded from memory, probably because they were not recorded — eight others were taped between 1947 and 1954!

For the researcher, it presents several curious details:
– these were the only Ninths given in the Titania-Palast; no doubt it was necessary to enlarge the stage, where the orchestra alone was already cramped,
– it was one of the few times that Furtwängler engaged the choir of St Hedwig’s Cathedral,
– and it was the only time he conducted the wonderful soprano Elfriede Trötschel, who sadly died, still young, only a few years later.

To ensure it of a place of distinction in our archives, here is the facsimile.

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